The unprecedented circumstances of the last nearly 12 months have taken their toll on the world economy. The closure of the business had governments looking for new forms of financing their budgets for the coming fiscal year. That was also the case for Richmond, which was also heavily affected by the financial crisis, so the city will rely on gaming revenue to fund a variety of projects.
Recently, City hall announced that in order to finance and finalize some urgent matters, the city would use money generated by the local gambling property of River Rock Casino & Resort.
Authorities were reliant on even more casino revenue, but unfortunately, after March last year, it has been shut down from operating.
The city staff will be able to use some of the previously generated revenue to find solutions to some of its capital issues despite being non-operational for almost a year now. With nearly CA$1.9 million being eyed to fund three projects that would greatly support the city. HVAC upgrades to the Hamilton Community Center, emergency power to the community safety building, and improvements to sidewalks and streetlights are the projects.
At Tuesday’s budget meeting, the Council discussed resolving of what issues can no longer be postponed. Since its back-up power supply is experiencing difficulties, the RCMP community safety building was mentioned. This means that the building does not have enough power to keep it running at the time of an emergency, which can be a little tricky in such a situation.
Coun. Alexa Loo expressed her intention to support the plan to upgrade the building’s insufficient power supply by suggesting that it is a must happen rather than should happen eventually. In the RCMP community property, the emergency power supply replacement is estimated to cost the city about CA$ 890,000.
The HVAC system will then be estimated at around CA$500,000 in cost at the Hamilton Community Centre, and sidewalk and streetlight redevelopment and replacement are also worth at about CA$500,000. In this year’s capital budget, which is not yet final until the next Council meeting, the city administration has not advised on the projects to be accepted.
Richmond has been involved in a number of controversies over the years, including money laundering and illegal casino den scandals on a slightly dimmer note. The summer of 2020 saw the police department storm several suspicious locations where numerous gambling items were found. Poker chips were found by the police, along with other gaming tables—the illicit gambling dens.
An inquiry into the suspected illegal activities was conducted by the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering, and one of the most mentioned locations was River Rock Casino in Richmond.
The casino was a preferred destination for Chinese high-rolling players to wash their crime-originating money over the last ten or more years, according to testimonies heard in the investigation.